Hello America and happy Thanksgiving!
I've been preparing for this holiday by eating non-stop for I'd say about six or eight months now; hence the chins.
Anyway, it's a great time of year because we are reminded that we've got a lot to be thankful for in this country and we often take even the simplest things for granted. Like our freedoms or even our homes. We don't realize how fragile our liberties really are. They could be snatched away at any given moment.
A man's home is his castle. A man's home is the shelter from the storm. It's been decorated by you, has your pictures. It is yours. Now the poorest of the poor don't have money to go against the big, evil, rich companies that want to take your homes. That's what the whole housing crisis is about: Keeping people in the houses; the home is sacred.
Unless you are the government and you see tax dollars on the horizon.
Take this story out of Brooklyn, New York. It's about families that want to keep their homes — they don't have any desire to move — but there are ton of tax dollars to be made. This isn't about the developer. This is about the government getting tax dollars and so they will crush anyone who stands in their way.
Real estate tycoon and owner of the New Jersey Nets, Bruce Ratner, wants to build a new home arena for his team on a $4.9 billion, 22-acre site in Brooklyn.
The homeowners don't want to sell and the Transit Authority has a rail yard there that they don't want to move. So what does the well-connected real estate tycoon do? He goes to the government. And voila: New York's Court of Appeals upheld the state's use of eminent domain for the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.
Let me tell you about the last time this happened. You may remember the name Suzette Kelo. She was a homeowner in New London, Connecticut.
Suzette was living the American dream. She had a home of her own until the progressive politicians there decided they were going to act on their own dream. They had a vision for the town. They wanted to revitalize it. They decided the town savior would be giant drug manufacturer Pfizer. So, they picked out some land. Great for Pfizer, bad for Suzette: Her home was in the line of fire. But she didn't want to move. So she fought.
The case made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court in 2005. The state used the "public use" argument under the Fifth Amendment. Now, you may be thinking, how is forcing people to sell their homes to a private drug company in any way public use? That's a good question. Here was their explanation: "If an economic project creates new jobs, increases tax revenues and revitalizes a depressed urban area then the project qualifies as public use."
That still doesn't make sense to me, but the court went along with it by a 5-4 count.
So, how is that "economic growth" doing in New London? Let's take a look at the progressive idea in action today: an empty lot.
Pfizer has left the building, everybody! Yes, all those people in New London were forced to sell their homes for the greater good. Now, I'm not a revitalization expert, but that doesn't look like an upgrade to me.
The court decision basically rendered the term "public use" in the Fifth Amendment meaningless and all we have to show for it is this beautiful empty dirt lot.
It was hailed as a victory by progressives: Helping many at the expense of a few. The Times called it a "setback to the 'property rights' movement" — as if property rights were bad? Pfizer is still keeping the land, by the way. They bought it cheap and they got huge tax breaks to move there. So they are content to let it sit, empty. So much for "creating jobs" and "tax revenue" and "revitalization."
This isn't America. This isn't what the pilgrims had in mind when they hopped into a boat and ventured out into the ocean. They were trying to get away from an intrusive government. Do you think they'd be happy about land grabs? Or money grabs —- like these two stories:
In California, the state this month has just implemented a 10 percent tax. Their excuse? They said it's not a tax and to think of it as a "forced, interest-free loan." Wow, what a great deal! Let me get this straight: I get to loan you money, I make nothing off of it and then I get IOUs at tax time? Where do I sign up?
Perhaps the most egregious abuse of power comes out of New York. They decided to spend over $2 billion to bail out the MTA. Where did $1.5 billion of that bailout come from? A retroactive payroll tax. Yes, they just invented a new tax bracket and went back in time to tax money that had already been taxed. I don't know about you, but where I'm from that is called theft. Stealing. Criminal.
Taking from some and giving to others is only a bi-product of the real goal of progressives: control. They believe you will always choose selfish interests over the collective interest. So, they feel it necessary to control you. Look at what they are doing in Massachusetts with their health care. They have a bill now that, under an emergency, would allow government to apply forced vaccinations. That's been done before, but in this bill you can go into a person's house and destroy unspecified things that the state feels should be destroyed.
Look, how about your property rights when they took over GM and Chrysler? If you were a bond holder, you just lost. They just took it from you. That was your money, your decision. And the government just took it and gave it to unions.
How about the banks: If you were a shareholder it didn't matter; you got screwed. They just took it.
Let me ask you this question: How is the little guy making out? Who is benefiting? Is it you or a private drug company like in New London? Is it you or the real estate tycoon in New York? Is it you or is it the politically well-connected?
Maybe it's just me, but I'm not really seeing the great benefit for the "little man."
Look at the cities with the most poverty. Progressives have been in control of the top 10 highest poverty cities 92 percent of the time since 1965. Last I checked they are lining the streets in Detroit at the mere rumor of "Obama cash" being handed out on the streets.
They are just taking our homes, because they can, for other private entities to use.
Pilgrims would be smacking us upside the head if they saw the direction we were headed. They fled their oppressive government in favor of sailing across a vast, largely unknown ocean in hopes of finding new land. For all they knew, they'd sail around forever just to get the hell away from a government that was too oppressive. They came here so they could have something. It's called freedom. We are stomping on them and everything they risked.
Did you know that the line "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" was originally going to be life, liberty and property? You know why it was changed? Because the South considered slaves to be property.
And so these "evil," "hateful" Founders changed it, to weaken the case of the slave-owner. But it was originally "life, liberty and property." You are losing your right on that. Let me show you how far we've come.
Here in New York there once was another area that was considered blight. And the wealthiest man in New York, John D. Rockefeller, lived a few blocks from this blight and he wanted it gone. So he decided to build some buildings. One guy wanted to sell, but he was holding them hostage for it. Another building was owned by a family who ran their own bar. The most powerful man in the country couldn't take the property from them in a blighted community. That's why there are two oddly Victorian-styled buildings in the Art Deco masterpiece of Rockefeller Plaza. It is a testament to life, liberty and property.
New London is a testament to the America we are building today.
— Watch "Glenn Beck" weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on Fox News Channel